The government’s Legal Aid Agency is underspending its allotted budget to the extent that it could afford to restore some legal aid for civil matters, a charity has claimed.
Following drastic cuts in legal aid provision and a resulting decline in the uptake of legal aid still available, the Agency spent £117 million less than it had budgeted for, the Legal Action Group (LAG) has claimed.
LAG is a national charity campaigning for equal access to justice. It declared that “less than £100m of the underspend revealed today would restore the cuts to social welfare law” and said that funds should also be targeted at family law. The latter would, they added, “need to be targeted at the litigants in person who are now jamming the family courts system”. The charity suggests court help desks staffed by qualified lawyers.
“We hope the Secretary of State for Justice uses this opportunity to redress some of the worse impacts of the LASPO Act, rather than allowing the cash to be snatched back by the Treasury.”